Wholemeal toast x 2, butter.
Dark chocolate-covered cranberries, yoghurt-covered banana chips.
Egg mayo, wholemeal pitta bread, crackers.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou
I’m currently on the bus to the train station where I have special leave from the Unit granted to go see ‘Little Mix’ with my mum and sisters! I’m looking forward to spending time with them – a hell of lot, but my thoughts around body image and finding something to where to what feels like such a momentous occasion, and something that was initially a gamble when my mum booked it (she couldn’t be certain either me or my sister wouldn’t be ill), have been taking over this morning and trying to dampen the excitement. But I’ve made it on the bus, so I’m starting to feel it. And to shut the hell off in my mind about how I currently feel in my body. On track and sticking with it. What I look like and what I feel I look like does not have to minimise the enjoyable experience.
So before celebrating too much and getting over-excited I wanted to reflect on something quite significant yesterday, that does to show the devastation of mental health suffering…
How your priorities can shift within a matter of seconds, I find incredibly fascinating. Even something so powerful and controlling can be quietened by a sudden gush from an event/thought that is in tune to one of your higher values. Even just for a morning, a day even. Sometimes for others – weeks, sometimes for others months/years/forever.
I may be at a stage of my recovery where I’m allowed to work towards maintaining my weight, but my head is still very meshed in the fear of my Eating Disorder – the power, less so because I continue to push against what it wants of me. The dread of weigh-days is still a horror and sometimes I’d rather have pins and needles all week, if it meant choosing between that and facing a number that my head still finds threatening.
So the usual feelings came, yesterday morning, until. Until I read a text to ask me if I’d heard Hannah had died. About 3 minutes before weigh-in.
Hannah is a beautiful, elegant-ly speaking, mother of two little cuties and a dedicated wife and Christian. She’s also struggled long-term with her mental health. I first knew of her about 4 years ago when she became good friends with my sister, through inpatient treatment for Anorexia. I knew how she struggled but how much she smiled and cared for my sister. She’d light up in the company of her; she had a thing about giraffes and good coffee. I got to know her more-so, when I was also admitted after struggling to recover myself after a lot of outpatient treatment and became a day-patient.
I saw all of those above things, amplified, when I got to spend more time around her…
Then, after both of us got discharged at different stages, I got re-admitted some time later, terrfied of my first inpatient admission. Regardless of how we wasn’t close-close, we still clicked and were on the same wave-length. She offered out her hand to come and visit me, when I’d just had my first NG-tube removed…
Chatting with her that day, it was one of those moments where anything problematic fizzles somewhere we’ll never know. But the moment, feels safe, warm and chirpy. Yeah she told me about her struggles, but so did I. But she mad enough me feel like I could pick myself up and get my life together as soon as we went our own ways that day.
You just never expect that those self-critical thoughts will ever take that person by the hand to a place we’ll never see them again.
So when I found out that news first thing yesterday morning, at the flick of a switch I didn’t give a sh*t what I weighed. It was a shake into perspective, and, as well as it propelled me to feel focused and positive about learning to manage my own mental health, and to get out there and make the MOST of every opportunity, on the flipside there was also of course that sad hopelessness.
I can relate to so many of thoughts around her mood/sadness/conflict with the world, so I begged within myself this wasn’t the only way out of suffering. This also kind of goes to prove that Anorexia CAN be a temporary coping mechanism to numb from all those feelings… but the longer you suffer, the harder it is to muddle through recovery and feel like you’re doing the ‘right’ thing as you grapple to find some purpose/self-worth – no matter how many people around you tell you you are many great things, your negative self-perception mumbles the loudest.
Hannah gave the world many things that wouldn’t be there before if it wasn’t for her existence:
Two young, beautiful and creative children. A marriage to a committed, loving man. A warm, chirpy inside feeling to all in the room when she smiled. Laughter, honesty, elegance, love and support.
Rest in peace, Hannah. You were tricked into feeling like you didn’t deserve to be here, but you have left an abundance of evidence behind to prove that you absolutely did.
You live in your children, your memories, your support to others with Eating Disorders and their conflicting mental health… and lots and lots of LOTS of people’s hearts.
Thank you for helping my sister with your friendship, which therefore helped my family and therefore helped me. And for then shining a light into my life when i got the privilege to know you better.
I hope you are at peace now, you deserve it and always have. But not like this. We have to take the positive spirit you’ve left behind and I for one know you have given me one more reason to fight for my mental health.
Sleep tight, beautiful.
Just a few examples of your most recent support with this recovery journey:
Thank you. 😢🌹